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Thread: ET competition maps guidelines

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Kendle
    OK, talking to my clanmates, we'd be willing to host and promote a "custom map weekend" to showcase potential competition maps. Bearing in mind we're talking 16 slot server, Stopwatch mode, mostly, if not exclusively, used by Clan players only, and I should be able to provide hosting for map downloads as well.
    Excellent idea :drink: I assume you are going to contact alot of new sites to get alot of mappers and players interested? If this works out well maybe other clans will do the same and offer more time to community mappers.

    Sock
    :moo:

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by sock
    Certain objective types are just too complex and time consuming for clans who's ultimate goal is to win the map as quick as possible. (Remember its often stop-watch mode which is played by clans not campaign mode) If you have a tank running at a set speed through a map then it will restrict the possibilities of winning the map in a set time. If you have multiple constructions which have to be built in a set order then this will take time. The key is quick balanced objectives which can be attacked or defended by teams of 5/6 players. Classic clan stuff is dyno objectives and doc/objective stealing.
    which is why if you look at supply depot and the competion version of Venice both maps contain vehicles that can not be damaged... Goldrush is a very long map because of the destructive tank and truck.. even the speed of the boat in venice has been increased to speed up the game

    I can speak for a lot of the TWL Alpha teams when I say we need some dual objective running maps like radar and the ability to cap the stopwatch time ... maps like goldrush, oasis,and railgun can be very long maps and very tough to cap on

    more discussion on this idea here
    http://forums.et-center.com/viewtopic.php?t=392

    The majority of the standard ET maps were designed for public play because the initial market was the public. Some of the maps certainly have alot of different routes and strats for winning but ultimately they were designed to be fun and form part of an overall campaign not 15min stopwatch games. The 15min considering is simply because clans do not want to play 3 x 30min games every time you meet another clan.
    yup and thats the main problem we have... because these maps were made for pubbing.. there are a lot of double holds happening .. even for unevenly matched clans

    If mappers feel they want their maps to become clan popular they need to approach the leagues who have the power to endorse map packs for clans to work with. A single clan working with a mapper is not enough and even if you get alot of clan input, its not often a good thing either. What might be good for one clan could be bad for another and generally clans can be selvish because they are always looking for an advantage to win. A clan is a fine balance of core player types and desiging a map for a team of snipers or engineers will restrict what clans can effectively play the map.
    head over to TWL and CAL to talk the admins and clans about competion maps

    just remember KISS

    Keep it simple.. stupid

    dont get too fancy... clans compete for the fast game play.. not the pretty graphics and neat little features you may add to it

    we are in desperate need for good competion worthy maps.. I just hope that there are people willing to fix this

  3. #43
    a very good idea i'd certainly be up for you lot using the map i already made and also the one im working on as it might be done by the end of june.

  4. #44
    Offering input to map construction is extremely time comsuming and not something that alot of clans will offer. Basically clans want to play a set of specific maps very very well and not waste time constantly learn new maps. TBH who could blame them either, no one wants a team of 6 players running around lost or not working together on a new map.
    I guess it's a double edge sword. Clans want new maps that are perfect for league play but are somewhat unwilling to learn a new map. And yet they are saying they desparately need new maps. I was hoping if we could get them to participate in all stages of a map (giving a little time for feedback), then they'd have a vested interest in learning/playing and accepting the map. If we could get clan/league support, then they already be introduced to the maps as they are being developed - and hopefully be more accepting to a map.
    The bottom line is really the leagues, as all clans exist to fight in the leagues. Building clan "ready" maps is not difficult but getting a map accepted by the clan community can sometimes seem impossible. The best route to understanding what clan play is all about is actually joining a clan and seeing first hand for yourself the importance of strats and how they can effectively win a game. There is no magic formula for clan maps just maps which offer a good balanced set of strats and counter strats.
    My problem is I don't have the time to join a clan - I don't have enough time to fully committ to them....with 'real' life and mapping. I would have the time if I gave up mapping..but then that defeats the purpose because I'd know what would be needed for a comp map, wouldn't have the time to make one, and end up being the one screaming that we needed more comp maps

    I still think it's best to get leagues/clans involved early (not just one clan, but several). They could take 5-10 minutes after a meeting or before a practice session to run through the layout of a map - give feedback - then let the mapper make changes. Again, I think this helps get the maps the clans want and provides advertising - if they are 'playing' them during development, then it might be an easier transition to accepting it in competition (ie. not be as lost running around the map)

    If we saw so more commitment like Kendle's clan has offered, I think you see more commitmen by map makers

  5. #45
    the only way around the problem i can see is to have some kind of "filter" in place, something to help mappers get good feedback and testing while also making sure what time clans can give is used well. To be blunt, filtering out maps that are never going to be suitable or picked up by leagues while keeping on those that really do have potential and trying to do it in a way that makes it comparatively easy for clans to be able and willing. A major difficulty with this is mappers need the feedback etc early on, where its even harder to "filter" through the maps.

    custom map weekend coming from a reliable source sounds a great idea, and a good filter - participants know the maps are going to be the ones most worthwhile spending time on, so are more likely to spend any time on them. Maybe an idea - get the emails from swertcw, rtcw.co.uk, xfire etc and have a mailing list, sending out pimpage on the thursday before (with web downloads). maybe even try to get someone in the US doing the same maps and pimping on etcenter/planetwolfenstein (ND80 maybe? they seem interested in testing etpro etc and seem to have some knowledgeable guys). Basically pimp it like any other event or like a mod would.

    @ Kendle, I dont really know, though fair to assume it would depend on how its done. For a straight public, where this is the main source for the files then I'd imagine it'd be rather a lot - though 35gbyte/month(?) is a couple of thou 15mb map downloads! 35gbit/m is about 300? If its a "public clanwar" (a server reserved for clans to play the new maps on, where any clan can play aslong as someone isnt already using it) or a "#custom_pickup" then its going to be largly the sam eplayers, most of whom will get the files from a webpage anyway.

  6. #46

  7. #47
    Well, I really enjoy taking a close look at quality maps and evaluating it for competitive gameplay, so while I can't offer 6on6 testing (my teammates are a lot less excited about custom maps and also have less time), feel free to send me your plans, layout, map beta or whatever to spark@mayl.de for some feedback (it's spam protected, so don't forget to click the link in the auto-reply the first time you write me).

    However, I want to point out a few things:
    - For the reasons sock mentioned, we don't want a dozen of mediocre competitive maps. So don't expect that we'll play your map just because you targeted it for competitive gaming. It has to be top notch. Venice is a map of exceptional quality, that's why people care. Most other custom maps aren't, sorry.
    - Good public maps and good competitive maps are not at all mutually exclusive, as Lanz already stated. It's just a lot easier to get maps on publics. Think of it this way: Would you be motivated to spend hours and hours of training and then play hundreds of matches on a map that isn't extremely good? People are a lot more likely to just play the map a few rounds on a public and then forget about it. There is no reason why your map should suddenly suck for publics, just because you make it suited for competitive play. If it doesn't even get played on publics, it most probably just wasn't really good in the first place.

    Additionally, it's wrong to assume that a competitive map just has to be offensive, that's simply not true. Over the time, I came up with a list for things I usually look for when evaluating a new map. Those are:

    Quality
    That's obvious and contains everything from performance, over visual appeal, to the lack of critical bugs. You know a quality map if you see it and it's extremely important for a competitive map, which will be played in and out. Every stupid bug can destroy the map, especially if it can be abused to get an advantage. Bad performance is a definite showstopper and you also don't want the map to look like ****, if players are supposed to play it almost every day.

    Layout
    Often you see maps like "some terrain with a flag over here and a building over there" or maps which mostly try to recreate a certain realistic setting. Those maps consistently fail. It is extremely important that you plan your entire map layout and that you are aware of the purpose of every room and every crate. Later you can add as much visual gimmicks as you want, but make sure that it doesn't influence the gameplay. Of course just planning the layout doesn't guarantee a good map, but not planning it guarantees a bad map.

    Flow and Cover
    Moving around a map is fun, so maps should be reasonably open. Make sure that players don't constantly get stuck at some edge, because that's frustrating. Use invisible clip brushes to make players "slide" along those edges and make possibly disturbing details non-clipping (like lamps at the roof where you could jump against or some decoration at a wall). Move around your map a lot and if you get stuck, fix it.
    On the other hand, make sure that the map isn't too open. Just walking along plain areas is extremely boring. Also make sure to add cover whereever it is needed, don't force players to walk considerably large amounts without any cover, especially when it's a defended area.
    Also allow people to jump a lot, add slopes for accelleration and the occasional tricky jump doesn't hurt either. Oasis has some very neat jumps (especially at the old city before the flag) and Goldrush is a prime example for good flow. Notice the huge slope right after the Allies spawn, where Allies can strafe jump most of the way to the bank. That's fun. Also notice how the railings of the stairs are flat, so they can be ideally used to strafe jump into the courtyard. This wouldn't be possible if the railings would be very detailed with spikes and knobs.
    As bad examples, I'd cite Radar (because most of it is just flat hill) and the fortress at Oasis (even top gamers look like silly newbies when they get stuck at one of the narrow doorframes).

    Cheese and Predictability
    What I consider as "cheese", is a simple tactic which can't be beaten. Imagine there is one chokepoint and a perfect placement for a mobile MG, which can lock down the entire chokepoint. Everything needs a counter-tactic, otherwise games will become dull very soon. Teams should be forced to invent new tactics all the way, the map should allow this and there should never be an obvious "best practice" which will always lead to the best results, no matter what the other side is doing.
    There are many suggestions like "add several routes to each objective" or "prevent spawncamping", which can basically be summed up as "avoid cheese". To do this properly, you obviously need to know the game and its possibilities very well. Always assume the worst case. For example, if there is a place which could be problematic of the defense would spam it with artillery, a Panzerfaust and a mobile MG, than they will do it. Never assume goodwill by the players, they will do everything to win and that's how it's supposed to be. It's the job of the mapper to make none of that possible. If you don't play in a clan yourself, watch a lot of top match demos to get a feel for the techniques used in matches and the possibilities of decent teams.

    On the other hand, don't add so many possibilties to the map that it's absolutely impossible to make any tactics, because you never know what the enemy is doing or where he's going. This needs to be balanced very well. As an example, I'd argue that tc_venice is pretty much on the "too open" side (though still good) and Oasis is pretty much on the "too cheesy" side (though still playable).

    Consistency
    A good competitive map should be consistent with other competitive maps, because you don't want to have one map that plays 30 mins by average and another that plays 2 mins by average. That would make sheduling somewhat difficult.
    Also considering how hard it is to create a popular competitive map, you don't want to re-invent the wheel: It's always a good idea to copy the basic flow of another popular map. Notice how tc_venice is basically the same basic structure as Goldrush (just more offensive oriented), which works very well. Of course you are free to add your own ideas, but then you should really know what you are doing.
    Most ET maps have at least two "phases", it would also be a good idea to copy this instead of going for the "Lotto-style" single objective of RTCW maps. Map size is another obvious thing that should be roughly consistent to other competition maps.

    Bottom line, creating a kick ass competitive map for any game is extremely hard and not as simple as deciding to do it and then asking a few clan gamers for feedback. Chances that you will succeed are extremely small, but I still think it's a worthwhile goal for mappers, because no map will get as much exposure and coverage as a popular competitive map. And please don't complain that clan gamers don't test maps enough. I'm pretty sure that there is not a single map out there which fullfills all the requirements but was somehow "overlooked". If you make a great map, people will notice you and test your map in small tournaments or praccies (as was done with Nachteinbruch, Caen and Supplydepot for example). If you still think that a map was just overlooked, please tell me which exactly, so I can take a look at it.


    Edit: Maybe I should stress that I'm not at all suggesting that Spheres suggestions are wrong or that Stopwatch maps shouldn't be offensive biased, just that it's not enough.

  8. #48
    Nice write up, good thoughts that will help any map, not just those for comp play

  9. #49
    Well BiO can't do everything here guys. It's true that we don't have time for proper map testing with our schedule, and our public server isn't for beta maps - but what I will do is put on a map which I think has potential in order to get it known (Supply Depot, Caen and the comp version of Venice are example).

    Best place for betas is a beta map server like the ND80 one in the U.S. - I play there regularly to keep an eye on what's out there and you can tell pretty quickly whether it's one that's going to be suitable for match play.

    For testing you really want a more 'fun' based clan - try posting on the Jolt forums or somewhere that a lot of clans go because if it wasn't for the swertcw.com coverage, hardly any of them would have seen this.

  10. #50
    you can tell pretty quickly whether it's one that's going to be suitable for match play.
    I'll try to hammer my point through again (this is the last time I'll make all of you read my opinion). For me any way, once a map is in beta stage there are not going to be major changes (at least that's how I handled my map - lots of closed alpha tests where all the changes occurred). So, if you are seeing a map in the beta stage, it's too late. It's either suitable for match play or not.

    I know clans can tell if a map is suitable very quickly (in a matter of minutes). If they would take those minutes up front and look at layouts/first terrains with temp buildings, they can impact the suitability of a map for match play - just by suggesting - move the buildings here - they are too close together - this entrance is too easy to choke, etc... Ten minutes spent of front would be extremely valuable - and save immense time later for the mapper.

    I'm not asking you to map with me, but just make suggestion early on. Because frankly, no mapper is going to redo his map once it's in beta stage. Too much time or effort has been put into it and it's too hard to redo. And by that time it's hit or miss (mostly miss), if it's suitable. Whereas it could be mostly hit if the mappers get early input.

    I know clans do not have much time to put towrad map testing/input. But if they want match worthy map they are going to have to make the time. How many clans compete? How many leagues are there? I can't believe that the mapping community couldn't get 10-20 clan members (from different clans) who would be willing to provide the early feedback we need.

    Clans can't expect mappers to pump out ten maps apiece in hopes that one will be accepted/suitable for match play. After one or two failed attempts, they will go the 'pub' route. Clans have to remember that it takes months to make a map - so, mappers don't have the time to try and try again. I'd rather get it right from the begining.

    I've offered to make a commitment to make a match worthy map - offering to provide my layout for feedback to see if the map is planned wel. Then I'd provide the terrain with roughed out bulidings - clans could then check if the building placement would work or needed to be changed. These iterations would take a matter of hours for me to modify and get more feedback. It would probably take me at least 2 months to make a finished map whereas clan members would have to take 1-2 hours to help me. Seems like a small price to pay to get a match worthy map. But I don't see many offers.

    Almost like clans want match worthy maps to magically appear. They won't without clan help. There has to be a commitment/partnership from both communities for this work. Complaining that there aren't any match worthy maps without offering to really lend a hand, well is quite frankly, just whining.

  11. #51
    Then why are some people able to create great maps which are played in competition?
    I thought this thread was about giving helpful guidelines for people interested in quality competition maps, not whining about the lack of maps. Understanding what makes a good map is simply necessary. Even if you get lots of great feedback, there will be bad feedback among it and how would you filter out the good feedback if you don't know yourself what works and what doesn't? I offered to provide fishes and I'm sure you'll find other people to give you fish, but this thread is about teaching how to fish and that's ten times more valuable IMO.

  12. #52
    well of the great maps which are played in competition, of those the impression i got (probably totally wrong but nvm) is -
    - caen i dunno about
    - supply depot was made by a clanned guy
    - base is a copy
    - v2base got feedback from people doing unter & elite before they'd considered it. Isnt widely used (yet?)
    - venice is a partial copy, and got feedback (er i think? either that or isnt really suitable atm but is likely toafter getting feedback). Isnt widely used (yet?)

    wee 5 maps, only two of which really count as examples of good maps made good without much in the way of feedback from clanned players. statistically, given the number of custom maps, I'd have thought we'd be doing better than that just from happy accidents.

  13. #53
    I am sure there are clans that are more than happy to test maps, i know my clan would be happy to help any one that needs thier map testing, if any of you mappers need any help with any testing contact me in #ukeg or #unterelite or click image below for webby and i will sort out some time that we can test for you and also ask about the clans we are friendly with ( who i am sure will also want to help ).

  14. #54
    I thought this thread was about giving helpful guidelines for people interested in quality competition maps, not whining about the lack of maps. Understanding what makes a good map is simply necessary. Even if you get lots of great feedback, there will be bad feedback among it and how would you filter out the good feedback if you don't know yourself what works and what doesn't? I offered to provide fishes and I'm sure you'll find other people to give you fish, but this thread is about teaching how to fish and that's ten times more valuable IMO.
    @Spark - you did provide some good guidelines, and like Iffy said they should be followed in every map.

    It's quite simple to filter feedback. If you get enough people to provide feedback, some of it correlates and some of it doesn't. You throw out the outliers and implement the repeated feedback. If you don't get feedback, then it's just the mapper's vision for a map. For which (IMO), I'd say 90% of the time you are going to miss something (and maybe somethine major) - if not we'd have tons of great custom maps floating around.

    I"m not asking for fishes. But I would like you to take me out on the boat and show me the good fishing spots instead of just giving me tips on the dock

  15. #55
    Damn it! I want fish, and it better be a big wild salmon steak with capers and a nice glass of wine

  16. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard
    I've offered to make a commitment to make a match worthy map - offering to provide my layout for feedback to see if the map is planned wel. Then I'd provide the terrain with roughed out bulidings - clans could then check if the building placement would work or needed to be changed. These iterations would take a matter of hours for me to modify and get more feedback. It would probably take me at least 2 months to make a finished map whereas clan members would have to take 1-2 hours to help me. Seems like a small price to pay to get a match worthy map. But I don't see many offers.
    I'm offering! Give me and my Clan a couple of weeks to get existing commitments out of the way and we'll be ready and willing to help in whatever way we can.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluebird
    ..and also ask about the clans we are friendly with ( who i am sure will also want to help ).
    Got some nice customs on our server already Blue. Maybe organise a scrim sometime to play-test a few?

    So far we've got:-

    tc_venice_rc2 <-- most beautiful ET map I've ever seen, a work of art and plays superbly as well
    townsquare_beta2 <-- blushing brides map, looks sweet and is very small and compact.
    citadel_obj <-- objective version of a popular RTCW custom, looks nice, haven't tried it yet myself though
    steelplant <-- OMFG this map is the dogs gonads, looks fantastic, has several awesome and unusual features, a must try
    eagles_b1 <-- you'll love this one Blue, it's basicly Tram, and looks gorgeous
    2hide_cal_r1 <-- a comp version made for CAL, unusual for an ET map but looks fantastic and seems to play well
    vengeance_beta1 <-- Iffy's map, looks very playable

    None of these are in rotation on our server yet, but are being considered for our custom map weekend. Anyone wants to play a few rounds of these with us, let us know, and any mappers that want to submit their maps, again, get in touch.

    #theinfamous on QuakeNet
    http://exp.ukgamer.net/main.php
    m00!Kendle

  17. #57
    Hmm, something else: Don't overuse terrain please! It seems that some people think that "the" way to do an ET map is to design a heighmap and then put some structures on it. But that's exactly the kind of map which will most likely not be popular for competition. The most popular maps are all mostly made of brushwork for a good reason. Solid brushes are just more fun to move around on and it's easier to design clever cover (with terrain, you always have to put random "stuff" on it for cover) and routes. Terrain is a powerful tool, but it should be used with care for parts of the map where it's really useful. See Oasis and Goldrush for perfect use of terrain (IMHO).
    Not saying that you couldn't create a kickass competitive all-terrain map (Radar is reasonably good), but personally I'm really no fan of it.

  18. #58
    yeah we will have to have a scrim on them m8, but we need a link for the maps unall.

  19. #59
    nice to see clans taking a more active interest (of course at the end of the day its in your own interest).

    Kendle, that's a nice line up of maps, if you use mine i'd be very interested to hear what people think. i dont mind if they say its rubbish the main thing is to hear what i did right and what i did wrong so i can learn by my mistakes.

    Iffy, are you asking me out on a date again

    BIO sphere, its true you cant do everything and nor should you have to. perhaps the important thing you can do as an influential clan is to put pressure on leagues etc to include any custom maps that you and others here consider worth a shot. even if the map turns out in the end to be unsuitable at least you would have played something other then oasis and radar for a few matches. i dont know how leagues work but surely if bio, infamous, ukeg and other top clans can decide amongst yourselves that a custom is worth playing you can get it played somewhere. i think getting a map in a compitition would be very satisfying for any mapper.

    Bani, just a thought and probably a stupid one but seeing as your mod is like an un-official patch (edit dont know if thats the correct way to describe it) that every clan downloads maybe you can make the next version part of a map pack or something. or maybe just endorse a map pack, dunno if that's even do-able or not its just an idea that popped into my head seeing as you must have some infuence


    anyway the main thing for me at least is that if i make a map i want it to get played, even if it turns out to be rubbish i'd at least like to know that the effort and time i put into making it was not totally wasted and that clans gave it enough of their time to find out if it was rubbish and tell me why. and if by some miracle of luck it turned out to be a decent map then i'd like to knwo that some clan people tried their best to persuede leagues to include it in the map pool. anyway im encouraged enough by what i read here to try.

  20. #60
    blushing bride what map is yours, post a link for me and i can get it put on my server so ukeg can have a run around it and give you some feedback.

    or kendle if you read this and know what map it is can you give me a link please.

    tbh i would rather spend time looking at 1 map at a time than looking at lots as we also have a busy schedule.

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